As evidence of my addiction to fashion, Fashion Month is on the short list of my favorite times of the year. I follow the shows, the reviews, the behind-the-scenes access, and the street style that happens on the sidewalks outside of the presentations, as well. I even look forward to documenting my own experiences at the shows in the near-future. And as we begin the final week of Black History Month 2015*, I thought I’d raise a question: If the modern-day combination of the fast-fashion system and the evolution of fashion blogging has made the Front Row accessible to those formerly eschewed from the locked towers of fashion, how is it that only bloggers of a certain ilk are allowed that access?
While it is true that certain members of the “old guard” of fashion have begrudgingly allowed bloggers the inside access of Fashion Week invitations and even—gasp—front row seating, there is still much to be said about what those faces look like. While accomplished style bloggers like Chiara Ferragni of “The Blonde Salad,” Leandra Medine of “Man Repeller,” and Aimee Song of “Song of Style,” have become mainstays on the front rows of fashion week, there is a clear absence of black blogger representation. I say representation because I know, firsthand, that there is no paucity of African-American bloggers on the internet, though the lack of brown and black faces in the audiences of Fashion Week would have us believe otherwise. And in terms of Fashion Month’s overall press coverage, the number of street-style roundups without even a handful of brown faces is rather unsettling—you may see a black model or two (which is a whole other musing), an editor like Julia Sarr-Jamois or photographer like Tamu McPherson, but where are the black personal style bloggers?
Though a number of black bloggers have huge numbers of followers and have even earned sponsorship by some fast-fashion brands (Blake Von D and Shoedazzle, for example), there is still something that keeps black style bloggers from accessing the advanced contemporary to luxury markets—the markets which Fashion Month are really about, after all. There must be something about luxury and elite access, then, that connotes an unworthiness in regard to black bloggers. Is it assumed that African-Americans aren’t a viable market for luxury goods? That we lack “buying power?” It seems as if it is deemed “appropriate” for fast—and materially, more ephemeral—fashion to align itself with African-American bloggers and their readers, but that the high end of fashion is reserved for those with “staying power;” that is, those who physically fit the historical and economic models of who “fashion” is for.